The North Territory (Spirit and Community)
Perhaps because the climate of their winters is so harsh, and the nights so long, the legends of many far-northern cultures speak of a hero who must defeat a monster in order to rescue a captive spring and return it to its rightful place among the people. In the Scandinavian folktale “Saving Spring,” spring has been imprisoned by Old Man Winter and a witty young man, Oscar volunteers to make the treacherous trek to rescue it, despite a warning that all of his predecessors have been transformed into wild animals.1 Up North Oscar is lulled into a deep sleep by the bitter cold. Upon waking, he realizes he has been transformed into a tiger. Driven by ravenous hunger, he forgets his original mission and pursues a rabbit, but in a fortunate moment of clarity, Oscar wakes up from the spell, remembers his mission, and recognizes the rabbit as his ally. Mythology is an evergreen teacher of Ancient Wisdom.The northern region of your inner landscape is where the pursuit of spiritual excellence occurs.Click To Tweet
The catch, if you will, is that diving into the mysterious north requires all of us to pursue our purpose, including the shadow sides of our personalities. In order for Oscar to serve his community he had to undergo a spiritual transformation and embrace his dualistic nature, which included a fierceness that originally made him uncomfortable. Confucius said that although we will always fall short, we should, “Abide in the highest excellence.”
Working with the Wind energies of the barren North Quadrant can help you fully realize your human potential, which is to be joyfully in service to others. Bus-i-ness left unchecked will always overshadow your humanity. Working with the winds that blow through the northern quadrant of your Awakening Compass can help you to find acceptance as of your shadow self. After Oscar overcame his fear of starvation, he was able to restore spring to his village. The winds that blow through the northern quadrant of your life can point you in the direction of self acceptance of your shadow self.
The Northern Landscape
The North is a place of service. The qualities of your experiences will be either pleasant or arduous, depending on your choices and the attitude you bring to each challenge. Large challenges always present greater opportunities for growth.Traveling through the Northern Landscape of your Inner World can be like taking a walk with a stubborn accomplice which requires rigorous self scrutiny. Click To Tweet Its sharp, cold grasp requires you to wear a warm overcoat. A question you must answer for yourself when you are working with energies in the Northern quadrant is, “Are friends only those who help us?” Great lessons can often be learned from great adversaries, so look at the challenging energies of the wind gods and goddesses as opportunities to look around and reframe your response to threats.
Self-realization is about developing clarity, focus, and discovery. Your visit to the land of the North need not be a mission of darkness, sorrow, and suffering. It can be about pausing to reflect before starting something new, taking a silent retreat, or even an afternoon nap.
Wisdom keepers have always known that everything is composed of energy, and all forms of life are spiritual in nature. When the Spanish Conquistadors arrived in South America, the Natives embraced the idea of “more god,” without realizing that their acquiescence to the European soldiers would soon force them to hide their traditions and rituals. If you remember to pursue your spiritual mission, even in secret, you won’t have to worry about being transformed into a hungry tiger.
If you ever lose your bearings spiritually, it is wise to pause, and reflect on the energies of the wind gods and goddesses that are currently frolicking in the Northern most quadrant of your spirit. Listen carefully to your Awakening Compass, as your intuition uses it to whisper words of long-forgotten wisdom. Every reading is a perfect occasion to make a sacred journey, a time for a contemplative retreat into nature. Relax, smile, and surrender to the peace and serenity in the stillness of your frozen northern caves.
While the energy of the North may appear passive on the surface, it is active below. The Northern Quadrant is an essential gateway to a deeper spiritual realm within, wherein lie powerful, fertile energies. Like a Douglas fir rooted on the edge of a cliff, we stand poised and ready, waiting patiently for the winds of change to buffet and strengthen us.
The North is a place to hibernate and reflect. It signifies the end of a cycle. Moments of wisdom and clarity like this can arise during yoga class, while hiking, in meditation, or when confronted by an unexpected gust of wind. There are many predictable patterns in our lives—the cycles of work and relationship, annual cycles, and astrological cycles—but the darkness of night and unexpected problems can arise anytime, creating stress and discomfort in our lives.
Signs and Symptoms of Sailing Through the North
Courage, strength, and patience are required when visiting the Northern Quadrants of your Soul. We must be brave like the buffalo as we enter its uncharted territories. Our vision must be as clear as the Great Plains after a snowstorm. Friends, enemies, lovers, and teachers may come and go, but ultimately we have to plan our journey, draw our maps, and travel our spiritual paths alone. The North is a place for introspection. Stand firm as you face your enemies or pursue the deeper calling in your life. Be vigilant, for the monsters within you could beckon you, or rear their ugly heads many times in your life. It is better to face your demons consciously when they reveal themselves, than it is to be ambushed by demons you denied, leading to illness, loss, or tragedy.
In the Andes Mountains, young men of the Quero undergo initiation either by spending a night alone on a cold glacier, where they pray for a vision, or by jumping into an icy lagoon tethered to the shore only by a rope. Initiation rituals such as these signify the commencement of a period of spiritual maturity wherein they no longer require a teacher and dedicate themselves to becoming one with nature. They ask the wind to bless their naked hearts with a new map for the future. Symbolic objects representing this spiritual experience are added to the medicine bundles they carry with them at all times. Like them, we gain skills through icy-cold initiations. Wind cards placed in the North often point to the spiritual medicine we are gaining by meeting our challenges.
At times, life can feel like we are walking through a harsh winter storm without a scarf, causing us to react to the winds with bitterness and rage. During these chilling experiences, it is essential to exercise patience, and practice tolerating the wind. The North is a wise teacher who sometimes employs tough love to align us to our destiny, or magnetic north. Spiritual Advisors are great allies when you feel lost in a blizzard, so it is wise to cultivate these relationships throughout your travels. The North is a place when good habits make barren times easier to navigate.
In feng shui, a shamanic tradition from China, the North is understood to govern the eternal natural recycling of water, from its evaporation from lakes and oceans into the heavens, eventually returning in the form of clouds, and as replenishing rain. We all possess the water of wisdom. We are destined to sail through the territories of the North many times until our bodies are finally reabsorbed by the earth, and our moisture rises to the heavens for the last time.
Are you resonating with the Wind Work? Order Your Copy of Winds of Spirit.